Don and I rang in the new year in good old Sugar Land, Texas. We made no resolutions, but I have begun this new decade with a new list!
It's a list of good things... good things about where I live. Texas.
I wasn't always a fan of Texas. Over 2 decades ago, I wasn't thrilled about moving here. All I could picture was the Alamo. But I've grown to appreciate this large and friendly state. I'll take what I've learned in 20+ years and let it inspire my new list!
What's This List?
In my Texas Twenty list, I'll spotlight some of the specific (and often curious) things I've enjoyed in the state. Each month, I'll feature one idea, then share 20 examples.
Hopefully, Don and I can get out there and explore more of Texas this year! I'm ready for some new discoveries! I'll set this up, so the most recent month appears. We'll see what happens!
Pandemic Year in Texas
Well... I started this Texas Twenty List, before the pandemic. Very soon, things got crazy and plans for exploring the state, changed. I was tempted to quit the list, but it was sort of fun digging up past Texas memories. Now I'm on my 12th and final month of the TX-20. My spotlight this month isn't about something I exactly enjoyed about the state. But, why not go ahead and focus on what Texas was like, during the pandemic?
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It's been a tough year in Texas and everywhere else. I didn't experience much of what was happening, because I was mostly at home. But here are a few of my snapshots. Some images reveal odd or eerie glimpses and couple make me sad. But there are a few positives thrown in here!
So today I end this list! I didn't get to explore the state as I had expected, but I enjoyed looking back on fun memories.
Cheers to the year ahead! Good things are coming!
Picnics in Texas
I had barely heard of Coronavirus, when I started this Texas Twenty List, last January. There was no pandemic in our state, or our country. I had such big plans for Texas adventures in 2020! I had hoped to do a lot of exploring and maybe go on some picnics.
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It turns out, picnicking is one of the few things we can do safely, during in these pandemic months! Above are just some of the Texas picnics Don and I have enjoyed, in 20+ years.
Below are some photos from our most recent picnic, at Cross Mountain Park. First we had a little lunch at the base of the mountain, that overlooks Fredericksburg.
Then we wandered up the path and found a giant cross, with lightbulbs! The odd, concrete cross has been glowing on this big hill, since 1946. There's actually a lot of curious history about this area. Worth a picnic trip!
Music & Dance in Texas
It's crazy that I'm still bothering with this Texas 20 Blog! The pandemic has made it pretty hard to get enthused about adding monthly themes. But it's fun to look back.
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I'm picking Music and Dance this month, even though I can't get out and enjoy festivals and music halls right now. But, I can recall some musical memories from past years.
Hopeful for live music in 2021!
Museums & Art
Some museums have reopened in Texas. Sadly, many small ones have had to close their doors for good. I'm glad I at least hit a couple museums in early 2020, before the pandemic.
Here are 20 random pics, that involve art or museums around Texas.
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I had hoped to explore many more museums this year. There's the Texas Prison Museum in Hunstville and a Salt Palace Museum in Grand Saline. The Black Cowboy Museum is just up the road from us. There's even a Curious Museum in Palestine, TX. I can't wait to be out exploring again!
Texas Town Signs
Texas is a mighty proud state. Even the smallest towns have a little something to boast about. While traveling, I'm always happily amused by the welcoming signs, in the small towns of Texas. Here are some favorites.
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Some of these make me chuckle. I love a little hint of town personality, when I spot a sign. I'm extra amused by towns with funny names. There are so many that I still need to visit. Oatmeal, TX is high on my list!
Oddities & Landmarks in Texas
There are a lot of curious things to discover in this gigantic state. Don and I have stumbled across many. We've also happily gone out of our way to see a few of them, like Cadillac Ranch.
Three years ago we spent the night in Amarillo and arrived to see this colorful sight, before sunrise. That helped us avoid other tourists and heat. This crazy art installation has been sitting out in the dusty fields, since 1974!
20 Favorites click to enlarge
I had hoped to get out and discover more curiosities in 2020, but this has not been the best year for exploring. Of course I look at these now and realize they're all outside! Maybe this is the best year for hunting down Texas Oddities!
Curious Hotels & Inns
I started this blog, when 2020 began. I fully intended to spend each month celebrating Texas, with past memories and new discoveries. Don and I have always been game to sleep in unusual places, like teepees and cabooses! June was supposed to be my month to focus on unusual Texas hotels.
This June, we could have taken on the adventure of exploring during a pandemic. In the past, we've definitely stayed at a few places, that might be considered risky! But we chose to stay home.
35 Memorable Overnights I couldn't decide on 20, so I'm sharing some favorite "hotels" that we've enjoyed, all over Texas. Each of these places, from historic hotels to kitschy motels... gave us a memorable overnight adventure!
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There are even more photos and adventures, in my 90 Notable Nights blog. Hopefully by this time next year, we'll be out there discovering more curious Texas hotels. There are plenty that we haven't tried! https://www.thebethlists.com/90-notable-nights
Houses of Worship in Texas
In the past 20 years, I've collected many photos of small town churches and missions. Texas has a lot! I had hoped to use this category, to celebrate Houston's diversity, by discovering some of the lovely temples and mosques in the area. But May has not been a month for exploring anything. Houses of worship have been closed, due to Covid 19. So I'll share some old favorites and save the new experiences for the future.
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So that's it for May. That's a pretty sad attempt. I couldn't even remember where I'd taken some of these photos. Hopefully in the next few months, I'll be back to exploring Texas!
Animals of Texas
Texas was on "Stay at Home" restrictions, for the entire month of April. So again, there were no opportunities to get out and explore. But I had fun looking over old photos and came up with some of my favorite animal encounter memories.
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This past month at home, has made me really miss the Best Texas Animal of them all!
Years ago, Molly was rescued from the Sugar Land animal shelter, a day before her "time was up". She's been gone many years, but this sweet face still makes me smile. During these past weeks of home time, how I've missed having a pet in the house. I've thought a lot about our dear Molly and her incredibly soft ears! She will always be my favorite Texas animal!
Calm Waters of Texas
When we began the month of March, I didn't realize there would be so few opportunities for exploring. March turned out to be a month of worry and adjustment, for everyone I know. My focus was less on blogging and more on Coronavirus. When I did allow myself to relax and think of good things, I remembered peaceful memories of Texas, that involved water.
20 Views of Water
Here are some of my favorite Texas river, lake, pool and ocean memories. (click for info)
Don and I didn't get a chance to get out and explore any new Texas water scenes, before it was "Shelter in Place" time.
But, I pulled out our 40-year-old canoe and put it on the lake, behind the house. I felt guilty, because I was having fun. I felt sneaky, like I'd just escaped from jail. It was peaceful. I didn't see a soul, except for the sweet ducklings. I gave them a good 6 feet of space.
It was heavenly and I don't know why this canoe has been ignored for 10 years.
People Encounters in Texas!
In February, I spent some time remembering some interesting people. In the past 20 years, Don and I have chatted with all kinds of folks, all over Texas. For the most part we've met incredibly friendly people, in restaurants, shops, parks, music venues... on the street.
Here are some of those memorable people. (click photo for info)
People Encounter in February
I had a few new encounters this past month. My best moment was a re-visit, with a special person I encountered a few years ago.
A.D. and I had never met, the day I first walked his barbershop. I asked him to shave my head. I had just finished with cancer treatment, so I didn't have much hair to get rid of. We bonded that morning, as he worked away, getting my head fresh and ready to start growing hair! I visited him a year later to show him I my dark hair.
A.D. was in great spirits when I walked in his shop recently. I sat back in the old chair and we chatted. I've stopped by a few times over the years, to bring cookies or introduce him to Don. He likes to remind me, that I'm the only woman customer... ever. He always points out the photos of us, propped on his antique cash register. In the images, I look comically different and A.D. always looks the same! I love people encounters that turn into friendships!
Dining Surprises in the Small Towns of Texas
Don and I love searching for cafes and diners in small towns. Some of the food we've discovered in Texas has been delicious. Some has been just decent. But all of our favorite experiences, have involved fun people encounters and memorable atmospheres.
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We've hit tons of good places over the years, but I'll list just 20.
20 Restaurants in 20 Texas Towns
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Brand New Discovery - Grey Moss Inn
Besides focussing on past favorites, Don and I got out there in January and made some other good dining discoveries. Our dinner in the tiny town of Grey Forest was a hoot! We learned about the 91 year old Grey Moss Inn Restaurant, from a 61 year old cookbook!
Our meal was delicious and our experience was memorable! Cheers for this hidden treasure, just northwest of San Antonio! Yay for small-town Texas dining!